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6 Signs It’s Time to Repair A Door

Wednesday July 22nd, 2020
Though it isn’t hard to spot or experience the effects of a damaged door, it can be difficult to discern how and when to address these unsightly and inconvenient issues. Will it be a simple repair service or a complete door replacement? Can you fix it with a DIY approach or will you need a professional handyman? Below is a list that addresses the first question: When is it time to repair a door?

6 Signs It’s Time to Repair a Door

  1. Squeaky Hinges
  2. Floor Scraping
  3. Sagging Screen Door
  4. Not Closing
  5. Stuck Closed
  6. Physical Damage to Door or Frame
Any of the above situations can be solved by simple door repairs. Though if several occur simultaneously, it might be best to consider replacement.

6 Signs It’s Time to Repair a Door

Squeaky Hinges

Homeowners can address the annoying sound of squeaky hinges in one of two ways:

1. Lubricant: If the hardware and door installation is fairly new, try applying a lubricant-like petroleum jelly or multi-purpose oil to the hardware without taking the hinges off. Open and close the door, applying the lubricant to all areas with movement.

2. Complete Clean: If simply lubricating the hinges on the surface doesn’t work, you will need to take the door off its frame.bed

Remove the pins and then unscrew the hinges from the door and frame. You might find some trapped paint chips, dust, or other debris, so go ahead and give your hardware a good cleaning.

Using warm water and soap will most likely do the trick, but consider buying a commercial cleaner for more stubborn debris or paint. Once you’ve cleaned and dried the hardware, apply lubricant and move the pins up and down the hinge. Rotate the hinges open and closed to disperse the lubricant thoroughly. Finally, reattach your hardware and door to the frame.

If either of these options doesn’t fix the squeaky hinges, you might have an alignment issue. This means something is not level, either the hardware itself or the way it was drilled into the frame or door. If this is the case, you will need to do some more extensive investigating. You can try to do it yourself, but you may decide it’s best to call in the professionals if you have limited experience in carpentry. You might also consider calling the customer service number of the company if you recently purchased the door.

Floor Scraping

After years of use, some doors will begin to scrape against the floor. To avoid damage to the door as well as the floor, try one of these two DIY fixes:
1. Loose Screws: It could be that the screws holding the door hinges in place have become loose. Try tightening them up to lift the door up from the floor.
2. Shifting Floors and Frames: Just as the earth settles and shifts, anything built on it will follow suit. A door that was once installed level to flooring or framing decades ago, might find itself mismatched with the floor or frame if the house has indeed shifted.

In this case, the door hinges need to be removed and a cardboard or wooden shim needs to be placed on top of each hinge before reinserting the screws. The extra width will most likely lift the door up a bit from the floor. If that doesn’t work, you might need to remove the door and plane the bottom using an electric hand planer before reinstalling it to create level and seamless movement.

Sagging Screen Door

Sagging screen door issues are very similar to interior door floor scraping. This issue is very common. To repair a sagging storm door, try tightening the hardware or adding cardboard or wooden shims. If that doesn’t work, try adding a turnbuckle.

A turnbuckle is a brace with threaded rods on each end. The turnbuckle is installed diagonally, stretching from the hinged side of the door to the other. When the turnbuckle is tightened in a counterclockwise rotation, the door will lift up and reduce or completely level the sagging.

The turnbuckle is kept in place to ensure the door stays level as it opens and closes. This simple fix is much easier than installing a new storm door, but you also need to consider whether you like the look of a turnbuckle on your front door or patio door.

Not Closing

There are a number of problems that might contribute to a door’s inability to close. Here are a few:
Loose Hinges: Loose hinges are usually the culprit if your door lock system is out of alignment. Tighten up the screws on your hinges and try to close the door again to see if this fixes the issue.

Debris-Covered Hinges/Locks: Another solution is to remove the door hardware and scrub it clean while checking for paint residue. Oftentimes, this is the issue preventing a door from closing completely, especially if the door was installed long ago or if any painting or remodeling has recently taken place.
Realign the Strike Plate: It could be that your home has shifted or that your door has expanded or shrunk over time. If you’re not in the market to replace your door, you’ll need to realign your strike plate so that your door can latch properly. First, remove the strike plate. Next, use a chisel to enlarge the opening. Finally, reattach the strike plate over the dimensions of the new opening. You can use wood filler to hide any unused and exposed screw holes in the frame.

Stuck Closed

As with any other door issues, a simple tightening of the hinge screws might resolve the issue. Additionally, it might be helpful to remove one of the screws and drill in a longer screw so that it grabs more of the door frame. If neither of these options works, there are a few other DIY solutions.

Tighten the Jamb: Drilling additional screws into the lock and latch side of the jamb will create a tighter fit of the jamb against the wall. This can be used on both your interior and exterior door jamb, and will widen the door opening to create more space for the door to close.

Plane the Door Vertically: If your door has expanded so much that you are unable to provide enough space by tightening the jamb, you’ll need to plane the door vertically using a planer saw. For this process, you’ll need to plan ahead and measure carefully. You might also consider hiring a professional if you don’t feel up for the task.

Physical Damage to Door or Frame

Wooden doors are probably the easiest to fix when it comes to simple cosmetic issues or greater structural issues.

Holes in the Door or Frame: This issue is common in builder-grade bedroom doors because they are usually hollow and puncture easily. Smaller holes in the door or frame can be filled in with wood filler. Once you have filled it, all you need to do is spackle, sand, and repaint for an almost seamless fix. Rustica bedroom doors are made of solid wood and don't have the same quality issues of hollow core doors.

Stain and Paint: Doors that have been scuffed or damaged on a superficial level can easily be repaired with a fresh coat of paint or stain. Though painting a door can be a fairly quick and easy process, staining is a bit more tedious. Follow this article on How to Stain a Door to make sure you are approaching the project with care and attention to detail.

Damaged Trim: Cosmetic damages to a door frame’s trim is an easy repair and can be accomplished without taking the door off. More than likely, you’ll be able to find a similar or exact piece of trim that can easily replace the damaged parts. If the damage is too extensive or if the damage affects other parts of the frame, door frame repair might not be an option, and you’ll need to completely replace the frame.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll need to replace the door as well. The process will require some careful carpentry if you can’t find the exact same frame. But it is possible to install an old door in new frame.

Most importantly, you’ll need to make sure that you purchase a frame with the same dimensions (height, width, length). After which you’ll want to make sure that the frame is installed level and correctly aligned. With these two important factors in mind, you should be able to hang your pre-existing door.

FAQ About Door Repair

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about door repair. You will need to keep the pricing of each repair in mind to determine whether it is better to repair or replace the door. Multiple repairs can quickly add up, so take the time to consider the costs (both time and money).

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Door?

The cost of fixing a door without hiring a professional depends on the project.

In general, most of the repairs listed in this article can be accomplished on solid or hollow wood doors for less than $50.

Doors made of steel, aluminum, or doors with glass panels, such as French doors or doors with sidelights and transom window, will be much more expensive to fix depending on the extent and type of damage. Door frame repair is more expensive because it requires more extensive work.

Damaged rollers or broken door locks will often need to be replaced instead of repaired for security purposes. Likewise, if the issue with the frame or hardware isn’t purely cosmetic, repairs can cost anywhere from $80-$400, depending on the type of door and material. If you find yourself paying more than $300 for a frame repair, it’s probably more cost effective to opt for door replacement.  

Can I Fix a Door Myself?

This is another factor to consider when determining whether or not DIY door repair is worth your time and money. Hinge tightening, sanding, and painting are easy jobs, while using a planer saw or door misalignment might require a professional set of eyes.
You really need to consider whether you have the time and ability to fix the door. If not, consider hiring a handyman.

Pricing for door repair varies greatly between carpenters. A repair service might charge as little as $50 per hour while others may charge well into the triple digits. It all depends on the area you live in and the skill of the carpenter. Keep this cost in mind when determining the overall price of repairing a door. It’s always best to call around to compare estimates.  

Should I Fix My Door or Replace It?

It depends. It’s not uncommon for homeowners to look into door repair and realize that the issue is either too serious or it requires help from a technician. In this case, it may be more advantageous to replace the door, especially when you consider the cost, time and ability requirements of the door repair.

Below is a list of circumstances where it is actually better to opt for exterior or interior door replacement:
  • The door continuously sticks, preventing complete opening and closing. Attempts to adjust the door have failed.
  • The door is not energy efficient. It allows heat to leave or a draft to enter the home.
  • The door is warped or falling apart.
  • The door style is outdated.
  • The door and frame damage aren’t purely cosmetic. Serious cracks and holes are irreparable.
  • The door has rusted or weakened with age and weather. This affects fire safety rating and security.
  • The door repair is too costly in comparison to a new purchase. This is often true for doors made with materials other than wood, like glass or steel. It’s also often true for garage door repair. These damages are usually caused by severe weather or crashing/bumping into the panels. A new garage door installation is often more economical in comparison to garage door repair.
In any of these cases, it’s usually better to remove the old door and frame and install a new door. Not only will these new doors provide curb appeal, as well as an updated interior style, but they’ll also provide more energy efficiency and security. For these reasons, many homeowners choose to simply replace their doors. You can even order a prehung door to eliminate the need for a carpenter and avoid the complexities of interior or exterior door installation. This is especially true when it comes to entry door installation, which requires another level of attention to security.

Where Should I Buy a New Door?

Rustica is a great place to begin your search for a new door if you’ve determined that home door repair is not a viable solution. Our solid wood doors are professionally crafted and rated for exterior and interior use. Each door is carefully constructed and made to last; withstanding both weather and time.

Whether you’re looking for French doors, Dutch doors, a set of sliding barn doors, or a new front door, Rustica has an ever-growing collection of beautiful, quality doors that look better and last longer than the big-box competition.
Additionally, Rustica crafts decorative and functional door features like barn door shutters, barn door hardware, sidelights, and transoms that feature the same high-quality materials and craftsmanship as our doors. We also offer pre-hung doors, which makes the installation simple enough for a home DIY project.

Our How to Install a Front Entry Door article has excellent instructions for those looking to take a DIY approach to front door installation. Though the article focuses on installing front entry doors, you’ll find the general outline helpful when considering how to install an interior door as well.

Pricing for a new door ranges, depending on the type of door and the material used. See the chart below for a base price reference for some of the most common door options:

Type of DoorPrice
Single Interior Door$498-$1775
Double Interior Door$1301-$6615
Single Entry Door$718-$3054
Double Entry Door$1635-$6307

To Repair or To Replace: Choosing the Better Option

In order to determine whether to repair or replace a door, you’ll need to consider the time, costs, and your ability. Think about your budget, your carpentry skills and the time frame in which you need to make your repairs. Sometimes it’s easier and more cost effective to replace the door.

If you do decide you need to replace your door, Rustica is the place to begin your search for a new one. Our experts will help you find the best door for your space, ensuring you’ll be happy with your new door for many years to come.
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